Napolitano: Open Borders, Yesterday, Today, Always

In Janet Napolitano’s 35-year-long professional career, she’s held important and influential positions. Napolitano has been President Clinton’s appointee as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona and was twice elected as Arizona’s governor. At one time during her Arizona governorship, many Democrats considered her a possible presidential candidate.

Eventually, she became the Senate-confirmed Department of Homeland Security secretary. After Obama left office, Napolitano accepted a position as the University of California’s president, an appointment fraught with controversy because she had no background as an academic administrator.

Napolitano resigned from UC effective Aug. 1, 2020. Now that Napolitano is retired, she can devote full-time to her favorite cause, advocating for illegal immigrants. During her tenure at UC, Napolitano announced that no one, including campus police, could cooperate with federal officials on any immigration-related request. Napolitano is a University of Virginia Law School graduate, and in legal circles, her defiance is known as obstruction of justice.

She also urged the university to file a suit against the Trump administration to prevent it from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. At the time, UC had about 2,400 illegal immigrant students enrolled, and California parents were angry that their citizen children had to compete with and lose out to DACAs for coveted UC admissions.

Given her UC history, and her ineffectiveness at border protection while DHS secretary and Arizona’s governor, Napolitano’s USA Today Op-Ed that hailed President Biden’s nonenforcement approach to immigration is consistent with her past enthusiasm for open borders. Titled “Biden is Making Immigration Moves that Will Pay Off,” Napolitano repeats age-old approaches that have failed to control illegal immigration in years past, and will be unsuccessful in the future.

Napolitano has forgotten – or cares not to mention – that as DHS secretary she canceled a $1 billion contract with Boeing to build a virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico. Launched in 2005, SBI-Net proposed to monitor the Southwest border with a single integrated surveillance system. But SBI-Net failed because of “technical issues” that, Napolitano admitted to Congress after receiving feedback from Border Patrol agents about its ineffectiveness, created “significant” schedule delays and cost overruns.

Biden’s immigration approach will pay off, Napolitano claims. But she doesn’t identify the beneficiaries – cheap labor-addicted employers. Swiftly processing asylum claims, as Biden has authorized, will quickly create a looser labor market that harms the millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans.

Biden has, Napolitano wrote, ordered DHS to recalibrate its interior enforcement priorities, and focus on convicted criminals, and away from “otherwise law-abiding individuals who pose no public safety threat.” John Sandweg, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director, debunked the long-standing myth that presidential administrations, whether Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 or Obama, deported nonviolent aliens. Sandweg told the Los Angeles Times: “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero.”

Throughout her Op-Ed, Napolitano predictably scorned President Trump’s border successes that included the wall and the remain-in-Mexico policy. And, citing her Arizona gubernatorial, DHS and UC experiences, Napolitano wrote, “I know something about these issues [immigration].” If so, Napolitano has tunnel vision and is overlooking the glaring flaws in Biden’s nonenforcement tactics.

In April, 42,000 illegal aliens escaped into the U.S. interior as overwhelmed Border Patrol agents couldn’t keep up with the inflow of humans – “gotaways” as the Border Patrol refers to them – or drugs. The Epoch Times reported that at least five Texas counties have issued disaster declarations and that one school district has warned parents to “be watchful of your children.”

Taking Napolitano’s immigration perspectives seriously is ill-advised. Remember, in 2010 then-DHS Secretary Napolitano told a U.S. Senate panel that the Southwest border is “as secure now as it has ever been.” In the 11 years since her bold and self-aggrandizing statement, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have successfully crossed the border and entered the U.S. where they remain today.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at .